South Texas Mayor Endorses Huffines for Governor, Says Border Crisis ‘Far Worse Than Many People Realize’

May 2021

A South Texas mayor with dire warnings about the condition of the border has endorsed former Republican state Sen. Don Huffines for governor, calling incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott a “fraud” for his handling of the border crisis.

Mayor Don McLaughlin of Uvalde appeared in an advertisement the Huffines campaign released Wednesday, saying Huffines is “committed to finishing the wall and actually closing the border to stop illegals from pouring into our state.”

In the Del Rio border patrol sector, which encompasses Uvalde, there were about 21,750 enforcement encounters with illegal aliens, including 16,386 encounters with single adults, per U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

“As a mayor who sees what’s happening on our border on a daily basis, I want to make it very, very clear to you today that the crisis on the border is far worse than many people realize,” McLaughlin said. “And it’s going to destroy my town, our state, and this country if we don’t do something about it now.”

The mayor noted that Uvalde, which is just over 50 miles from the Texas-Mexico border, has a population of about 17,000 people, 80 percent of whom are of Hispanic descent. While Uvalde is a border town, illegal immigration is not an issue that exclusively affects communities on the southern border.

McLaughlin said authorities in Uvalde have been forced to shut down the local schools due to safety concerns arising from illegal immigration.

In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, McLaughlin said that he has struggled to get responses from Abbott as well as Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), though he has been able to talk to their assistants.

“I can’t get my own senators to call me back — as an elected official, I cannot get a callback,” McLaughlin told Carlson.

Huffines said in a press release that he is “grateful” for McLaughlin’s support and that he would “restore law and order by building a wall and shutting the border until illegal immigration stops.”

McLaughlin criticized Abbott for declining to support legislation that would have required the state to finish the border wall project.

Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) introduced House Bill (HB) 2862, which would have finished construction using Texas funds. Chairman Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) did not schedule the bill for a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.

Slaton also made an unsuccessful attempt to amend the budget to redirect funding from the Texas Arts Commission to the border wall.

At least two counties have declared states of disaster over illegal immigration and human smuggling.

Abbott has prioritized border security in recent months as he sent Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) resources to aid CBP in the apprehension of criminals.

Following McLaughlin’s endorsement of Huffines, Abbott announced he will appear in Fort Worth on Thursday with Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn and DPS Director Colonel Steve McCraw to update the public on border security efforts.